It has all been a little confusing over at AOL/HuffPo/TechCrunch over the last week after TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington decided to start an investment fund, dubbed “CrunchFund”, alongside his editorial responsibilities at TechCrunch. Many, including me, called foul of the lack of editorial objectivity from having the editor personally and financially invested in a number of start-ups the site covers – and it has all ended with Arrington leaving TechCrunch.
AOL have issued the following statement:
The TechCrunch acquisition has been a success for AOL and for our shareholders, and we are very excited about its future. Michael Arrington, the founder of TechCrunch has decided to move on from TechCrunch and AOL to his newly formed venture fund. Michael is a world-class entrepreneur and we look forward to supporting his new endeavor through our investment in his venture fund. Erick Schonfeld has been named the editor of TechCrunch. TechCrunch will be expanding its editorial leadership in the coming months.
So there you have it folks – Arrington has left the site he started, nurtured, and eventually sold to AOL in order to run the CrunchFund – which AOL will have a $10 million stake in. This may be bad for TechCrunch, which has led the way in terms of new media technology reporting – often beating traditional journalists from well established publications to stories and tips, but I am personally at least a little relieved that we didn’t start seeing some serious breaches of journalistic integrity (which may or may not have occurred). Even with this less than perfect exit from tech journalism though, Arrington, his bullshit-free writing style, and his dogged focus on the next big thing will be sorely missed.